Residents Want to Recall Ferguson Mayor
Six city employees have already stepped down in Ferguson, Mo. Could it’s embattled mayor be next?
If five residents have their way, yes.L ast Friday, five Ferguson residents filed an affidavit to have James Knowles III recalled as mayor.
Since the Department of Justice released its report on racial discrimination in within the Ferguson Police Department and the city of Ferguson, city employees have been under fire. Of the six that have left so far, some have left on their own, stepping down, while others were fired.
Right now some residents have their sights on Mayor Knowles, who has described his job as Ferguson’s mayor in the past as a part-time position (he only gets $4,200 a year for it), that is largely ceremonial. He claims he actually doesn’t have that much power within the city government, but that hasn’t stopped critics from alleging that Knowles must have known about the civil rights violations taking place throughout the city and its police department.
They have 60 days to collect signatures, and they need the support of 15 percent of registers voters from the last mayor election in order to qualify for a special election that could oust Knowles.
Despite the heat though, Knowles has repeatedly said he has no plans to step down.
He told the Associated Press:
“Obviously there are people on the street calling for my resignation, but my voicemail, my text messages and my Facebook are full with literally hundreds of people who want me to stay,” Knowles said in an Associated Press interview Friday. “Somebody has to show leadership, and I’m focused on how we can move this community forward.”
But Knowles’ critics are many and want to see him take accountability for the problems in Ferguson:
But Rasheen Aldridge, director of Young Activists United St. Louis and a member of the Ferguson Commission appointed by Gov. Jay Nixon, believes Knowles needs to follow the police chief and city manager out the door. The Justice Department report — a companion to one that cleared Wilson of any wrongdoing — laid bare instances of racial profiling and bias in the police department and a municipal court system that profited largely on the backs of blacks.
“When all of this stuff was going on, there’s no way you can be the mayor of the town and not look at how much money is coming in, and even if you see it you don’t raise a concern,” Aldridge said. “This is his city. He’s the mayor, and he needs to be held accountable.”
Read more about Mayor Knowles and the potential recall HERE.